Undergraduates as America’s only Leisure Class

February 27, 2010 at 10:44 am 3 comments

I commented a few weeks ago about Dick Lipton’s interesting blog post about the extinction of universities. The thread has continued there, and the most recent comment is absolutely fascinating — especially the bottom line.  This isn’t a new problem. I’m presenting a shortened version here:

excerpts from Everett Dean Martin’s “The Meaning of Liberal Education”:

“The motives which lead people to seek college education divide the students into three types. First there are the few who love learning. …

A second type of student attends college and university in large numbers. The motive is preparation for a professional career. Many of the best students belong to this type. …

“The third type, the majority of undergraduate students, are for the most part pleasant young men and women of the upper middle class. Their parents are “putting them through college” because it is the expected thing to do. Students of this type enjoy four happy years, largely at public expense, with other young people of their own age in an environment designed to keep them out of mischief. I have no doubt this grown-up kindergarten life is good for them; most of them seem to appreciate it. In later years they remain enthusiastically loyal to Alma Mater, coming back to football games and class reunions and contributing to the support of the college. As alumni their influence is not always on the side of progress in education, but perhaps they make up for this failure in other ways.”

Now about the only leisure class we have in America is the undergraduate student body. It is bad for the morale of any institution to sail under false colors, and colleges are popularly supposed to be educational institutions. The college faculties themselves must to some extent share this popular delusion, or else they would not permit the public to go on believing it. ….”

Martin’s book was published in 1926.

via An Educational Extinction Event? « Gödel’s Lost Letter and P=NP.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alan Kay  |  February 27, 2010 at 11:45 am

    The Dick Lipton post and comments seem to be part of the large misinterpretation of “Education” as “acquiring knowledge” that has been prevalent for a long time.

    A bigger view is that where a student might want to get from the A they think they are at, to some imagined B, a good education will take them to a C that was outside their horizon.

    In other words, the real deal is about moving to powerful outlooks and perspectives rather then adding to one’s knowledge in unsophisticated outlooks.

    From this point of view, both the Uns and the Ons fall far short (but with a tiny few interesting exceptions).



  • 2. Fred Martin  |  February 28, 2010 at 8:58 am

    great punchline!

  • 3. Mark Veil  |  March 6, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Guess what –there will be only leisure for the wealthiest Americans. Remember reading about medieval times –how serfs worked twenty hours a day and if they protested would be tortured to death. Those times are coming back.

    Look up the Bilderberg group on the internet –the press is gagged, since they own it. Soon, the net will be censored, too.

    They are using water, food and vaccination in order to reduce world population to a slave class of 500, 000 from 6 billion. Of course, their numbers will not be reduced.

    If you hope to live as a free person, get informed, now, or you will learn as you and your children perish.


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